Poor sleep isn’t new to most people. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has made it worse. Here are some tips on how you can sleep better during stressful times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in people’s work, family, and home life, impacting how they function every day. Some people experience financial difficulties. Others suffer from illness. At the same time, most have undergone extreme stress and pressure. All these things significantly affect sleep.
Poor sleep isn’t new to most people. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has made it worse. On top of stressful situations many experience every day, people now need to include added safety measures in their daily lives. While feeling anxious about contracting the virus any time, anxiety-inducing news, social media updates, and stories constantly bombard people’s televisions and smartphones.
Your Body Needs to Sleep
Good-quality sleep is essential now more than ever. Aside from body recovery, maintaining the health of your nerve cells, and immune system enhancement, sleep can influence the potency of COVID-19 vaccines.
Experts have noted that poor sleep makes vaccines less potent. Since sleep strengthens the immune system, lack of sleep makes a person more likely to develop illnesses such as respiratory infections, making an individual more susceptible to a respiratory virus like COVID-19.
So here are some things you can do to improve your sleep routine and get better rest:
1. Create an Environment That Inspires Sleep
Research shows that people can sleep better when their environment is optimized for temperature, noise levels, light, and comfort.
So, your bedroom setting impacts the quality of sleep you get every day. The ideal sleep environment is dark, cool, and quiet. If you’re working the night shift, you can get quality sleep during the day by creating an environment conducive to sleep.
Regarding temperature, note that we feel more comfortable sleeping in temperatures around32Â°C to 34Â°Cas our bodies naturally experience a drop in body temperature once we enter the initial stages of sleep. So, while some people might be comfortable sleeping in warmer rooms, a cooler room will prep your body for rest. Similarly, too cold won’t be conducive to sleep either. So, in colder temperatures, make sure that you have a bed warmer to keep the temperature cozy.
Also, ensure that you eliminate any noise that causes disturbances and that you keep your bedroom light levels low. Choose lights that are dimmer to help you fall asleep faster.
2. Create a Sleep Schedule
Organize your sleeping habits. Having a sleep schedule is an effective way of training your body or senses to get accustomed to feeling sleepy at certain times of the day or in certain circumstances.
To start off, set aside seven to eight hours of your day for sleep. Now that you know how many hours you need for sleep, schedule a specific time when you can go to bed and get up every day.
Staying consistent trains your body’s sleep-wake cycle. It also helps to do something relaxing before going to bed. This can be listening to music, reading a book, or lighting a candle.
3. Limit Screen Time
Looking at your device before bedtime will give you a more difficult time sleeping. Not only do phones and tablets stimulate the brain, but electronic devices also delay the release of the sleep hormone melatonin leading to less restful sleep. To sleep better and easier, try not to look at bright screens one to two hours before bedtime.
4. Do Some Breathing Exercises
One thing that can keep you from falling asleep is that you’re unable to stay relaxed. People are presented with even more stress during the pandemic, so much so that it’s pretty challenging to keep their minds calm. The good thing is that some breathing exercises can help you relax, calm down, and sleep better at night.
Concentrating on your breathing can help reduce anxiety, which then influences your ability to sleep faster. Slow and deep breathing can alleviate your stress, calm your nerves, and increase melatonin production.
There are many breathing practices that you can do. For starters, you can try alternate nostril breathing. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit cross-legged. Make sure you find a comfortable position.
- Put either of your hands on the adjacent knee.
- Lift your other hand up to your nose.
- Exhale completely, then use your thumb to cover one of your nostrils.
- Inhale through the opposite nostril, then close with your finger.
- Open the nostril you closed with your thumb and exhale through that side.
- Inhale through this same nostril and then close it.
- Open the opposite nostril and exhale through that side.
- Keep doing this cycle for at least five to seven minutes.
- Try to complete the practice by exhaling using only your right nostril.
Take note that you can do this exercise on your own. But you can also consult a yoga instructor on how to do it in person, so you’re sure that you’re doing it right.
Getting enough sleep is always necessary for proper health. But it’s even more critical now as the pandemic has put the world in more stressful situations. You need a good night’s rest so your body can heal itself and better equip you in facing the next day ahead.
These tips can help you start developing a healthy sleeping habit. You can also read more on the science of sleep and learn what you can do to get the quality rest you deserve.